Central division showdown set for Sunday match

By Shayan Karbassi

The Maroons have aced their competition recently, leaping out to a 4–0 start in what has so far proved to be a dominant season. Ranked 11th nationally and third in the Central division standings, Chicago heads into this weekend with rackets full of confidence.

On Sunday, the men will face off against UW–Whitewater and UW–Green Bay, two teams that have enjoyed successes of their own over the first few matches of the season. UW–Whitewater, a D-III team, is ranked 21st nationally and eighth in the Central Division and has no intention of slowing down.

“UW–Whitewater will be a tough match,” head coach Taka Bertrand said. Because the Warhawks are a D-III opponent, it is important that the Maroons return to Hyde Park with nothing less than a “W” on their record.

The Warhawks, though, will be tough competition. While they lost their season opener to D-I Northern Illinois University, the team is coming off three consecutive wins: an 8–1 win against UW–Oshkosh, an 8–1 win against Wheaton, and a 7–2 win over Luther.

The team features a strong top two in second-year Byron Balkin and third-year Andrew Bayliss. Balkin is ranked 14th in the Central Division and qualified for both team and individual NCAA’s last year. Bayliss is also coming off a successful season, in which he won a total of 61 games.

Similarly, UW–Green Bay will be a difficult foe. While Green Bay is a DI team, the Maroons will still aim to come out on top against them in what will be a battle of the phoenixes. Green Bay, similar to Whitewater, lost their season opener, but they too are coming off a four game win streak and sport a record of 4–1.

Last Sunday, Green Bay defeated Carleton 7–0, having also beaten Bradley 6–1 in the week prior. To add to what will be intense competition this weekend, the Phoenix feature a top three with only one loss between them. Front man Craig Cox is 5–0 and third spot Felix Goepper is 4–0, while Erik Finkenbrink is 3–1, with his lone loss coming in the season opener.

The Maroons have strong weapons of their own, however. Fourth-year Troy Brinker leads the team with a 47–17 singles record. Second-year Alex Golovin boasts a 6-1 record, while surrounded by the wealth of talented athletes who round out the Maroon front six.

Chicago will attempt to extend their winning streak this weekend this Sunday at 9 a.m. and noon against Whitewater and Green Bay, respectively.